Does Anybody Die Of Aids Anymore?
The answer to this disturbing film’s title question is a resounding yes! Despite the much-hyped advances in treatment which, for some patients, have transformed HIV from a death sentence to a chronic illness, tens of thousands of people are still dying of AIDS in the United States. And tens of thousands more will die, even in this rich and medically advanced nation, because of ignorance and denial which have resulted in a “third wave” of HIV infection.
A gay man in the video says that people are tired of listening to warnings, and “just want to live their lives.” He takes viewers on a shocking tour of websites promoting unprotected sex and offering invitations to “barebacking” parties. While some blame the entertainment industry’s images of sexuality, the news media have also contributed to this new crisis, through exaggerated reports of the effectiveness of the new treatments – some reporters have even declared “the end of the AIDS epidemic.”
The reality is very different. A health educator who is interviewed displays an overflowing double handful of pills — a single week’s supply — and describes the devastating side effects that prevent many patients from using these treatments. Even those who are able to use the drugs must subject themselves to a difficult and demanding treatment regimen. Other problems include the appearance of new, drug-resistant strains of the virus; deaths from liver and kidney damage due to drug toxicity; and the development of AIDS-related cancers in people on long-term treatment. The educators and clinicians in this film stress that “our hospice beds are still full. Somebody’s got to speak up and say ‘this is not over!’”
The attitude of “Why should I worry? I can just pop a few pills if I get infected” is contrasted with the ugly reality
Director: Louise Hogarth
Writer: Louise Hogarth
Editor: Mario del Bello
Camera: May Rigler
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